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Cultures and faiths meet around common cause

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The patriarch longs to see his daughter who remained in Ethiopia. PHOTO: Mary Anne Isaak

What do an extended family originally from Ethiopia and an MB church have in common? An incredible opportunity to achieve a long-sought-for family reunification!

Former refugee Saeed was rescued from a Somali prison and came to Canada some 32 years ago. Most of this father’s family – children and grandchildren – were born here. But a daughter, just two years old then, stayed behind in Ethiopia with her grandma. Saeed has not seen his daughter since, but yearns to see her again and meet her husband and 5 children “before I die.”

River East MB Church, Winnipeg, heard his story, agrees with his wish and volunteered to sponsor (with the expert help of MCC) the family of seven to Winnipeg where most of the Saeed clan resides.

Lula Ali prepares Ethiopian coffee. PHOTO: Mary Anne Isaak

It was a sheer pleasure for the local extended Saeed family and the River East sponsors to come together for a Sunday lunch on Mar. 12, 2017. And not just any lunch, but an authentic Ethiopian dinner, a veritable feast prepared by the Saeed family for our church family!

This event offered the Saeed family an opportunity to say “thanks” and for the River East family to offer love, friendship and financial support. Mennonites, Muslims, Orthodox, former refugees, current activists, and just regular friends: we all came together here around a cause that engages and energizes all of us!

I see God smiling.

Dan Block greets a baby with mother Haniya. PHOTO: Mary Anne Isaak

[Dan Block is a member of River East Church, Winnipeg. He serves with two others on the Refugee Resettlement Team that has taken part in two family resettlements in the past few years. 


Aynalem Ali and her family prepared food for fellowship with River East to further their joint family reunification sponsorship project. PHOTO: Mary Anne Isaak

The Saeed family and River East family fellowshipped over food to further their family reunification sponsorship project.

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